Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions, with more than 520 million followers around the globe.
So, I wanted to learn more about Buddhism and compare it to my religion: Christianity. What sets it apart? It is grounded in reality? Here is what I learned about what Buddhists believe.
HISTORY OF BUDDHISM
The faith was founded by Siddhartha Guatama Buddha. He was a man born into a royal Nepal family around 600 B.C. According to scholars, Buddha lived a luxurious lifestyle. He had parents who wished to protect him from the world, so he rarely encountered actual pain and suffering.
But that all changed when Buddha saw visions of a sick man, an old man, and a corpse. He had another vision, one of a peaceful monk. This changed his life, and he decided to give up his riches to pursue enlightenment.
WHAT BUDDHISTS BELIEVE
Buddhists believe in the “Four Noble Truths,” which include 1) Life is suffering, 2) Suffering is a consequence of desire, 3) Losing desires will help eliminate suffering, and 4) Desire can be eliminated through the “Eightfold Path.” The Eightfold Path consists of attitudes and actions that can help people rid themselves of their desires.
The elements of the Eightfold Path supposedly help the Buddhist reach Nirvana, which is described as a “transcendent” state where there is no suffering, desire, sense of self, and so on. It’s the final goal of Buddhism.
The Eightfold Path includes right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. It is believed that, should a Buddhist follow these principals, they will reach Nirvana.
It is also important to include that Buddhists share similar views to Hinduism. These views include reincarnation, or the belief that you are reborn as someone or something else after you die; karma, or the idea that good and evil actions will yield a certain consequence; meditation; temple worship; and Nirvana.
WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE
Christians believe that God sent His son, or a part of Himself, down to Earth in the flesh to grow up, teach and preach His word, die on a cross to cover the sins of the world, rise from the dead after conquering hell, and ascend back into Heaven after appearing to more than 500 people as the risen Christ.
Christians believe that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, and they believe that no amount of good that you do can get you to Heaven. It is God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that makes Heaven a possibility for everyone.
Christians also believe that everyone is born into sin and the world is sinful. However, thanks to the free gift of salvation, God’s spirit can change you. Although you will still mess up and sin, God forgives those who are sincere.
Christians believe that, when they die, they will go to Heaven and God will judge those who did not know Jesus righteously. Those who lived apart from God will not go to Heaven, but will spend an eternity separate from Him.
CHRISTIANITY VS. BUDDHISM
From my experience of life, no one is good. Even people who donate to the poor or volunteer can be some of the most wicked people on the face of the Earth. I don’t have enough faith in humanity to believe that if we all stopped feeling desire, we would achieve enlightenment.
Overall, while I respect Buddha for some of his principals, I can’t be Buddhist because I know I’m not reliable; there must be a moral law giver to define “right views;” and, probably most importantly to me, there is no joy in Buddhism. It’s all about limiting and cutting off your joy so you can be enlightened. That doesn’t sound like the type of life God wants us to live.
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” - John 16:24
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
These are a few of the almost 200 mentions of joy in the Bible. Will you have joy? Expand the details at the bottom of this page to learn how you can accept Jesus as your personal savior! Thanks for reading and I hope this clarified a bit about each religion to help you on your journey. Those who seek God will find Him!
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: